ARTravel: Art, Craft, and Nature in Costa Rica

March 17-27, 2020

Update: As of 8/30/19 this trip is fully subscribed, and we are no longer accepting registrations. If you would like to be added to the waiting list, please call 802-257-0124, ext. 101.

BMAC is pleased to offer the only arts-oriented trip to the popular eco-tourism destination of Costa Rica. Our trip will explore the vibrant contemporary arts, crafts, and culinary scenes of Costa Rica’s capital city, and then head into the countryside to sample the natural wonders of the Pacific coast and the cloud forests of the central highlands. This trip is an opportunity to join a small group of like-minded travelers to go beyond the standard tourist itinerary and get to know a bit more about what makes this country, which always rates among the happiest on the planet, tick.

You will have opportunities to interact with artists from the visual and performing arts, collectors, chefs, curators, and students. You will also travel outside the city with one of the country’s foremost naturalist guides and learn about the hundreds of species of animals and plants that populate this bridge between the North and South American continents. You will visit a coffee cooperative and see how Costa Rica’s famed Tarrazu coffee is grown, processed and prepared.

Because the group is limited in size, you will be able to take advantage of opportunities for spontaneous interactions with Ticos, as Costa Ricans call themselves, whose friendliness and good humor is admired worldwide. Whether stopping at a roadside fruit stand or sipping a coffee or fruit smoothie at a simple soda (a small luncheonette-style eatery), these interactions often are trip highlights that result in lasting memories.

Your exploration begins in the capital city of San Jose. Although most tourists spend little time here and head quickly for the beaches or mountains, Chepe, as the city is known to locals, holds many charms just below its busy urban surface. That’s exactly where you will head, with a variety of visits to artists’ studios and galleries, curator-led tours of museums, and talks on Costa Rican art history. You will visit the lovely National Theater for an insider’s tour. On at least one evening you will attend a concert or theatre performance.

In addition to a full daily schedule of cultural activities, you will delve into San Jose’s blossoming culinary scene, where chefs are putting interesting and tasty spins on traditional Costa Rican ingredients and dishes. A burgeoning craft beer industry has sprung up in the last few years, and  you will have ample opportunities to sample the products of boutique breweries from around the country. And, of course,  you will never be far from delicious fresh fruits, both familiar and exotic. Sweet teeth will be wooed in a visit to a chocolater√≠a, where you will learn how the seeds of the cacao fruit end up as delicious candy bars.

Next  you will venture into the countryside, heading first southwest to the beautiful Pacific coast to enjoy both beach and tropical rain forest activities. Wildlife viewing opportunities abound, and your excellent naturalist guide will do birding walks every morning. A day at a private reserve that protects over 800 acres of forest, mangrove, riverbank, and beachfront will afford opportunities to see parrots, toucans, sloths, monkeys, coatis, and more. A range of activities is on offer, from easy nature walks to more vigorous hikes deeper into the forest, to an exhilarating zip line through the forest canopy. On another day you will hike to a gorgeous waterfall.

From the coast you will then drive north into the mountains and cloud forest, home to the most beautiful of birds, the Resplendent Quetzal, and the most delicious of beverages, Tarrazu coffee. Throughout your stay in these areas of abundant natural wonders there will be ample flexibility in the schedule, so that if you want to do more birding or hiking — or just more relaxing — it’s always possible.

As this trip is not only the first one to Costa Rica for BMAC, but the first ever to be offered with a focus on Costa Rica’s vibrant arts scene, some features of your itinerary may be altered as to time, place, or other aspects. An appreciation of serendipity and openness to new experiences will undoubtedly be rewarded.

Click here for a detailed, day-by-day itinerary.

PROGRAM DETAILS

Dates: March 17-27, 2020

Price per person: $3,950 for double occupancy (single supplement: $650), includes lodging, ground transportation, local guides and experts, museum entrance fees, most meals (see detailed, day-by-day itinerary), and a tax-deductible donation to the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center. Some independent meals give participants the chance to get a break from the group and sample Costa Rica’s excellent cuisine on their own.

To register: Complete registration form and pay non-refundable deposit of $800 by December 16, 2019. (Early-bird discount: Register by November 18, 2019 and receive a $100 discount.) Balance due by January 13, 2020.

Space is limited to preserve the intimacy and flexibility of the experience, so we encourage you to reserve your place early.

Update: As of 3/25/19 this workshop is fully subscribed, and we are no longer accepting registrations. If you would like to be added to the waiting list, please call 802-257-0124, ext. 101.

Getting there: The trip will begin and end in San Jose, Costa Rica, the site of the country’s major international airport (SJO). Participants should try to arrive at SJO no later than 4 p.m. on March 17, and should arrange to fly out of SJO no earlier than the morning of March 27. A representative of BMAC will meet you at the airport in San Jose and take you to your hotel.

Note: Some flights go to Costa Rica’s other international airport in Liberia (LIR), which is several hours’ drive from San Jose and will not be a convenient arrival point for this trip.

Hotels: In San Jose you will stay in a modern, business-oriented hotel on the edge of La Sabana Park. On the Pacific coast you will stay in a four-star tourist hotel with views over the ocean, a pool, and spa. In the highlands you will stay in a simple but comfortable nature lodge in a small mountain town; the hotel’s restaurant specializes in serving fresh trout, which is farmed nearby.

Trip Leader: Ken Klothen is a former member of BMAC’s Board of Trustees and a legal resident of Costa Rica. A retired lawyer and active consultant in medical ethics, Ken has traveled to Costa Rica multiple times per year for the past 30 years. When in Costa Rica, Ken lives in Uvita, in the region of the Pacific coast to be visited on this trip; he loves to show visitors some of the out-of-the-way places in his town to eat, walk, birdwatch, and swim. Having worked in San Jose, Ken is also enthusiastic about introducing visitors to its cultural and culinary delights. He has led trips for family groups to most regions of the country and has also led groups in Ireland, Cuba, Ecuador, Canada, and Germany. Ken is fluent in Spanish.

Trip Naturalist: Luis Vargas will also accompany the group on the natural history portion of the trip. Luis was born and raised, and still lives, in Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui, a river town in the northeast region of Costa Rica. He comes from a family deeply involved in conservation and ecology; several siblings work for the La Selva Biological Research Station outside Puerto Viejo, where Luis guides regularly. Luis was the naturalist guide at Tiskita Jungle Lodge in the southern Pacific zone for ten years. He has led tours for Road Scholar, Costa Rica Sun Tours, and the Organization for Tropical Studies, and he is often asked to guide individual academic researchers. He is fluent in English and greatly esteemed not only for his encyclopedic knowledge but for his unfailing good humor.

For more information: Contact Michelle Pizzo at 802-257-0124, ext. 101 or office@brattleboromuseum.org.